Home of Herriot
Say the name Alf Wright and most people won't have the first idea whom you're talking about. Change to his pen name James Herriot, and it's a totally different kettle of fish as people's eyes lit up in recognation of Britain's top vet. Herriot might have been from Glasgow, but ended up doing his first vets practice here and got so captivated by the Yorkshire landscape and character that he stayed all his life.
Whilst not at all as scenic as Wensleydale where most scenes in TV series "All Creatures Great and Small" were shot, Thirsk is a great place to spend a day. For a start, you have a lot of the town to yourself as most tourists are busy discovering the Dales and Moors around the town and not very interested in the Vale of York unless they are real Herriot devotees or have come to see the Hambleton Hills which rise behind town. This means you have much of the town to yourself - I had a great afternoon watching men watching horse racing in a local pub. Secondly, those Hambleton Hills make for quite some scenic views if you dare drive up them to for instance the famous Sutton Bank.
"Thisk - what an unusual name", I hear you say. The name comes from an old Scandinavian word for wilderness lake ("träsk" in Swedish today for instance) as this is old viking country. Apparently the region must have had more wetlands then compared to now - if you except the huge, annual floods in the Vale...